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OBA: ‘Why Has It Taken So Long To Answer?’

A question about the contract and TA fees “was first submitted in September for reply and for months, the Government has been unresponsive,” Shadow Health Minister Michael Dunkley said, asking “why has it taken so long to answer?”

Mr. Dunkley said, “During the sitting of Parliament today, I eagerly anticipated finally having the questions on the order paper regarding the Travel Authorization fee answered by Health Minister, the Hon. Kim Wilson.

“However, I was surprised and concerned that the first question requesting the Minister provide the full contract with ResQwest as it relates to Covid services was not answered.

“This question was first submitted in September for reply and for months, the Government has been unresponsive. Today that did not change!

“Why has it taken so long to answer? Is there something to hide? The people deserve to know and as their representatives in Parliament we have a right to access the information.

“The other two questions focused on the money raised through the travel authorization fee and the amounts paid to ResQwest

“Parliament was informed that ResQwest received $4,362,655.00 between November 1st 2021 and October 31st 2022. It is likely when you add in funding received before November 1st 2021, that the company has received over $5 million for a no bid contract that is not available for Parliament to review. In October of 2022 alone ResQwest was paid $2,008,078.

“Hon. Minister Wilson was also asked if the early ending of the TA was subject to a penalty clause. The answer was that she did not have the information at the time. Can you imagine; ending a contract and do not have the information or you are not aware of a penalty clause!

“Can you also imagine if the shoe was on the other foot and the OBA had done this? No doubt the PLP, and the now defunct People’s Campaign, would be shouting from the rafters and marching would be taking place!

“The answer to the final question regarding the TA showed that in the last seven months [ April through October] the Government has raised $24,140,360.00 through the TA fee [tax]. This is shocking information!

“Sadly under this PLP Government led by Premier David Burt the people are being trampled on and even the People’s House [ Parliament] has a hard time receiving information.

“Bermuda faces many challenges after Covid, and many are not due to the pandemic. The government needs to listen to the people. Be open and transparent.”